Sunday, December 24, 2017

We wish everyone a peaceful Christmas

Merry Christmas from our rescued beauties Jet and Prince, and all of the other horses and humans at DoubleHP / New Hope Horse Shelter.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Every Day is Giving Day here. We give to the horses, and the horses give to us.

Today is "Giving Tuesday. "  But here at New Hope Horse Shelter, every day is a Giving Day.  We give to the horses by caring for them and loving them.  And the horses give to us, in so many ways it's hard to begin explaining.  Let's just say they teach us how to get along in life, if we will take the time to learn from them.

The easiest way to give to our rescued horses on Giving Tuesday or any day is to make a deposit directly into our bank account. We have already received $14,000 in matching funds. That's what our hay costs us for the year. We buy early, in June/July, before the prices get so high. This year was actually a really good hay year around here, first cutting anyway, for people who planned ahead and bought early, that is. Can we match the $14,000 on this Giving Tuesday? that will replenish our hay fund for the next year.

Just use the Donate button on this, our web page.
The Horses Thank You!
Or, of course, when you shop Amazon, use this Amazon Smile link for our organization. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Princey got a surprise visit from his boy, Paul.

Princey and Paul first met in 2009.  Paul had gone through several heart surgeries, and one of their Doctors had recommended animal therapy for Paul's family.  And so they found us. And Princey.  Princey was one of our very first rescues.  We rescued him from starvation when he was a yearling.  Princey has arthritis in his hocks, probably due to malnutrition as a baby. 

Princey and Paul are really good friends.  Even when Paul doesn't visit for a while, their relationship picks right back up each time he does come to visit.

Like yesterday.
Paul's sister Christina planned a surprise visit for the 2 of them.  She thought it would be good therapy as their family prepares for another open heart surgery for Paul.  Scheduled for Oct. 12.   Princey and Paul had a wonderful time together yesterday, as they always do.
You may follow Paul's Caring Bridge website at

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

If You Never Go On An Adventure, You Might Never Find Your Treasure

If You Never Go On An Adventure,
You Might Never Find Your Treasure
Another Man's Treasure
You know the story:  the one about the guy who throws something in the trash and the other guy who comes along and finds it, lifts it up out of the rubble, cares for it, and treasures it forever.

Lily is my treasure. She is also my Parelli Partner and, as of September 2016, we are official Level 3 graduates. Together.

Being the founder and manager of a horse rescue organization certainly has its emotional rewards (along with, of course, many heartaches); but in the middle of a South Dakota winter, being the contact person for this group is not fun and games. Unless I think of it as an adventure!  I got the call about Lily during a bitterly cold February. Lily and her only friend had been turned out in an open field with no shelter, no food, no water.  Lily's friend had already died and there, barely, stood Lily. Waiting...waiting...waiting...

And so, on a cold South Dakota February evening, my husband, Greg, and I went on yet another horse rescue adventure. We picked her up at the Humane Society in a neighboring county.  She looked like a shriveled up pony and she also had that other look -- the one that says, "I have lost my dignity, my pride, my beauty, my strength, my only friend, my life; now do with me what you want." 
The day after Lily's rescue, our Veterinarian came for evaluation. Lily, then a 3-year-old, had a body condition score of 1, her halter was growing into her head, she was loaded with worms, and she was lame.

For the rest of that winter, Lily lived in a barn with as much hay and water as she wanted.  We promised her she would never again be without food, water, and shelter.  We did put Lily up for adoption the following spring/summer, but no one wanted her. She was still not sound, she was very protective of her food, and we could not guarantee that she would be a riding horse.  And so, she came to live at our horse sanctuary, New Hope Horse Shelter, where 14 of our rescued beauties live. 
A few years ago I researched various horsemanship programs.  I wanted to start a program here with our rescued horses, giving people an opportunity to learn about horses even if they can't own a horse of their own.  I am so happy that I chose Parelli Natural Horsemanship.  The Parelli program is a perfect fit for me.  Through PNH, I have found a way to encourage consistency in our barn for both horses and humans; to combine my love for horses with my love for music and rhythm; and to stay connected to my roots. (My B.A. is in Education; I am a former high school teacher and coach and a strong believer in continuing education and self-improvement.)

I believe that we are never too old to learn something new, and that the best time to start something new is now.  Starting a new journey -- going on an adventure -- can be scary and, yes, as we get older, it can be even scarier.
But you know, I know, Lily knows, if you never go on an adventure you might never find your treasure.

Story written by me, Darci Hortness,
founder and manager of DoubleHP and New Hope Horse Shelter
501c3 nonprofit Horse Help Providers, Inc. (DoubleHP)

25337 470 Ave, Crooks SD  57020
605 359-0961

Our barn Parelli videos can be found by searching gentlereins on YouTube.
If you are interested in joining our horsemanship program, call me. Darci. 359-0961.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Breakfast at New Hope Horse Shelter Dec. 11, 2016

after the snowing and blowing yesterday and last night, a pretty calm morning here. Very comfortable for breakfast outside. except for Baylee and Princess who cannot handle hard, frozen, uneven ground. They get to stay in the barn area in their big in/out stalls/pens. All 17 horses are in these photos, some more than once of course. and some more visible than others. They were all in the barns last night but fresh air and exercise and outside is good for all of us. 2 leggeds and 4 leggeds.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Our horses love music.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Salebarn, Slaughter, Starvation -- those should not be options for neglected horses. What about enforcement of laws!!!

Those of you who have been with me on this horse welfare journey know some about our accomplishments and ongoing disappointments regarding the way horse neglect is handled in our State. Well, in most counties that is.
Some of our (me and a few within our organization who have helped) greatest accomplishments have been to help keep funding for horse slaughter plant / feasibility study out of our state.
And bringing together for meetings our county and state officials, law enforcement, veterinarians, for meetings in Sioux Falls to try to organize a Sioux Falls Area Horse Welfare Committee. We had good meetings, but in the end everyone except a couple of us wanted to handle horse neglect cases the way most counties do: call the state vet, no prosecution, send horses to feedlot, salebarn & slaughter.  that's what's easiest.  At that time, I disbanded the group and informed all of the officials that our government does not have to help people get their starving horses to the slaughterplant.  Horse owners can do that on their own. Talk about a waste of government resources.  So, I have tried.  Have you???

here is an update on how I feel about the ISPMB and Karen Sussman. And the way the county and state officials have handled this situation. Once again, treating the horses like the offenders.

Here is an update on my thoughts about the ISPMB and Karen Sussman's criminal actions regarding neglect of her 800 and some horses near Lantry, SD.  I'm not going to go through the whole depressing thing.  you can do a simple internet search and find it all. 

here is a link to court documents that is very helpful though.  Especially the Veterinary report at the end, which clearly shows that several types of neglect is definitely going on here.

Karen Sussman is responsible for the suffering these horses have gone through. 

There have been people and animal welfare groups trying to help; thanks to those.

But once again, as it often goes in South Dakota, the county and state officials did not do the right thing. Oh they did the right thing for humans.  No charges whatsoever.  and just view the horses as money.  Treat the horses as the offenders, not the victims.  And protect the horse owner. This is typical in South Dakota.  Not in all counties, but in many counties this is how it goes in horse cases.

If you do an internet search you will no doubt find comments, etc., from lots of folks thanking the county officials for doing such a good job and saying they have no choice, they have to send the horses to a salebarn.  You need to know this is not true.  These horses were impounded.  The SD Animal Industry Board was involved, and so were the counties.

You will also find a lot of comments like this:  well, if the only choices are starvation or slaughter, I choose slaughter.  Weak, thoughtless humans. what kind of choices are those?  What about the enforcement of the laws we have written.  How's that for a choice? Maybe these situations wouldn't keep happening if the laws would be enforced.

anyway, I will never choose between slaughter and starvation.  I will never believe or state those are the only 2 options.  That is giving up. That is giving in.  That is living in a cave, and thinking that just because this is the way it's always been done it's the way it should still be done.  Doing the right thing can be hard, exhausting, time consuming.  But once it's done it makes the future better and easier to handle.  It takes great leaders to make these changes.  Evidently our state does not yet have those leaders.

 Take a look at some of these laws we have written.  There were many options the officials could have gone with.  They certainly could have charged Sussman like they should have.  But look at all of these other options they could have chosen for the horses:

40-1-34.   Disposition of impounded animals. An animal impounded under this chapter shall, within reasonable time at the direction of the board, any agent or officer of a humane society, or any peace officer be disposed of by:

(1): returning to the owner or caretaker;

(2) transferring ownership to a humane society ...

(3) euthanizing

(4) sold through public auction

(5) transferring ownership to a suitable caretaker or facility . . .

(6) any other disposition as determined by the board, any agent or officer of a humane society, or any peace officer in accordance with rules promulgated pursuant to 40-1-25


And then there is this one:

40-1-35.   Contract to enforce livestock provisions. The board may contract with a humane society incorporated pursuant to chapter 40-2 to enforce the provisions of this chapter concerning cattle, horses, sheep, swine, and other livestock.


Lots and lots of options. 

So please don't believe for one second that "salebarn" was the only option. 

What is happening is the horses are standing there eating hay which, of course is good, but they are getting fattened up for market.  There will be killbuyers present at a public auction.  Everyone knows it.  The officials know it.  Everyone knows it.  This did not have to happen this way.  Except for human greed and lack of willpower to do the right thing.


Geez, at least they could have charged her with neglect.


Here are a few notes from the court documents:

It is hereby Ordered that  all live mustangs′ burros and horses owned by Defendant′ ISMPB and Karen Sussman′ located in Dewey and Ziebach Counties′ shall be immediately impounded and properly cared for by the Dewey county and ziebach County Sheri ffs or other designees pursuant to SDCL 40-1-5

That there have been times ...  that the ISBMB  has  been  unable to and  has  failed to  provide  sufficient  feed  or  care generally considered  to  be  . . .  accepted  for  said  animals'  health  and  well-being  consistent  with the  species,  breed,  physlcal  condition  and  type  of  said animals,  in  violation  of  SDCL  40-1-L

to  SDCL  40-1-40.  Attached  hereto  and incorporated  by  reference

is  the  ANIMAL WELFARE INVESTIGATION  REPORT  of  Dr.  Marc  Hammrich, DVM,  of  the  South  Dakota  Animal Industry  Board, 

 AIso observed  was a burial  pit that  contained  25  carcasses.  These  were  in  various  stages of decomposition  . . .Proper  carcass  disposal  methods were not  being  followed  and  Ms.  Sussman  was advised  of this.  (could have charged her with that one too)

According  to  SDCL  40-l-2.3,  neglect  is  defined  as the  failure  to  provide  food,  water, protection  from  the  elements,  adequate  sanitation  adequate  facilities  or  care  generally considered  to  be standard  and  accepted  for  an  animal' s  health  and  well  being.. Many criteria  of neglect  have  been identified.  . .

Hay  procurement  needs  to  be  completed  immediately.  Many animals  are  not  receiving adequate  hoofcare.  Ownership  does  not  appear  to  have  the  means,  money,  labor,  and facilities  to  support  and  manage  a population of animals  this  size  and  does  not  appear  to have  adequate  plans to  assure  the  future  of this  herd,  Based  on  my findings  as  outlined in  this  report,  it  is  my determination  that  animal  neglect is  present  at this  facility.

Signature  Marc A. Hammrich, DVM Date: 9/15/16


Summary:  Don't believe those who say "salebarn" was the only option.  Don't believe those who say "starvation or slaughter are the only options."  Don't believe those who say this was handled the right way.  It was not.   No charges?  Disgusting. Shameful. Way to go South Dakota.  As far as I know, Sussman isn't really from South Dakota, so it wouldn't have even been like charging one of our own.  I hope she goes back to wherever she came from; her family should really come and get her and put her into therapy for hoarding etc.

Let's be clear.  What is needed, what's always been needed in these cases, is enforcement of the laws we have written.  And doing right for the horses, the victims.  Charge the offenders. Prosecute.  Include in the sentencing "no more breeding or no more ownership of horses."  It has been in some counties I have worked with.  No there were not 800 horses involved.  But that's the thing.  You handle it the right way in the beginning and it wont blow out of control like this. 

I will keep advocating for horse welfare and enforcement of laws with the victims, the horses, in mind.  I will not settle for the salebarn and slaughter being the answer.  If more of us would speak up that way, some day, it will change.  Probably not in my lifetime.  I know that.  But I will be able to rest in peace, knowing that I never gave up and I never gave in.